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Russia passes law forcing ‘locally produced’ software onto people’s devices

Russia passes law forcing ‘locally produced’ software onto people’s devices

Image copyright BBC. From the comedy show League of Gentlemen Russia’s parliament has passed a law banning devices that don’t contain locally produced software out-of-the-box. The ban will encompass laptops, desktop PCs, smartphones, audio streaming devices, smart TVs – any computing device. The law will come into effect in July next year. However, it will

Russia passes law forcing ‘locally produced’ software onto people’s devices

Image copyright BBC. From the comedy show League of Gentlemen

Russia’s parliament has passed a law banning devices that don’t contain locally produced software out-of-the-box. The ban will encompass laptops, desktop PCs, smartphones, audio streaming devices, smart TVs – any computing device. The law will come into effect in July next year.

However, it will remain up to the individual to decide whether they use the locally produced software or the standard software.

“When we buy complex electronic devices, they already have individual applications, mostly Western ones, pre-installed on them,” Oleg Nikolayev, co-author of the new law, told the Interfax news agency.

“Naturally, when a person sees them… they might think that there are no domestic alternatives available. And if alongside pre-installed applications, we will also offer the Russian ones to users, then they will have a right to choose.”

The government will now come up with a full list of devices and the alternative software that needs to be installed.

However, there are fears that the locally produced software will also include ‘extras’, such as surveillance software, and that the measure will increase the cost of supplying electronics to the Russian market, with the locally produced alternative software unlikely to be as well supported and, hence, used.

The new law will follow on from the introduction of the country’s ‘sovereign internet’ law empowering the government to cut the country off from the rest of the world. It has also demanded changes to internet service providers (ISP) network architectures to make it easier to conduct deep packet inspection – effectively, online surveillance – of domestic internet traffic.

The Yaraovaya Law of July 2018 requires telecoms operators and ISPs to store the content of users online communications for up to six months.

That comes on top of restrictions on virtual private networks (VPNs), laws designating media outlets receiving foreign investment as ‘foreign agents’, and a requirement for social media and communications platforms to connect user accounts with phone numbers.

Russia is also, critics say, pushing its vision of national internet control globally under the guise of fighting cyber crime. 

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